A career as a “Holistic Health Entrepreneur” could mean a number of different things. Maybe it’s a role as a Health Coach or a cooking instructor, or maybe it’s someone who organizes events and conferences about health. 2010 Integrative Nutrition grad Robin Shirley does all of these things, and more.
Robin discovered the Health Coach Training Program at a tough time, just when she needed it the most, and has since successfully developed her personal business. She draws from her own experiences suffering from systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and chronic Lyme disease to guide those with similar health problems. She speaks to schools, sports teams and businesses and is currently planning a health conference for over 450 people! Read more about Robin’s story and what she’s up to now:
What were you doing before Integrative Nutrition?
I had decided to take a break from college and was living back at home. I was taking a break for two reasons: I was too sick to attend my classes and keep up my grades, and I was going down the wrong path in life, but didn't know it at that point. It just felt like I was going 100 miles per hour down the wrong highway. Everything was all wrong and I needed to take a break and figure things out. So, I was at home searching for something that I was passionate about that would bring me into a better life.
What led you to explore Integrative Nutrition's program?
I kept running into people who had graduated from Integrative Nutrition. It was just the universe tapping me on the shoulder- I've learned to pay more attention to that tapping over the years!
What happened since you enrolled in Integrative Nutrition's program?
I immediately starting teaching cooking classes out of my home and I loved it! I do see private clients and recently I've started health coaching for the IIN students. That has been so fun. I love meeting all of the students and hearing what they think of the faculty lectures. Now I am working on putting together a health and nutrition conference in Arlington, Virginia called the Take Back Your Health Conference. My company is called Health Restoration Resources and it will offer health events (like the conference), health coaching, and a resource website.
What did you learn at Integrative Nutrition?
I learned how to be myself. I learned that the purpose of life is to turn whatever you feel passionate about into something. Don't just sit on it until you are 80-years-old and then feel like you've missed your chance to express yourself. It will burn you up inside if you don't get it out! IIN also gave me the confidence to be an entrepreneur without a college degree. I feel like education is changing so fast and if you have motivation, common sense and passion then you can do anything you want to do.
What do you love about the school?
I love the school's concept of "fitting out" as opposed to "fitting in.” Joshua always encouraged us to become unique individuals. The school seems to ooze infinite kindness, compassion and warmth. It was just what I needed after leaving college to find something bigger and more "real."
How has studying with an international Health Coach Training Program benefited you?
It has enabled me to start my own business, overcome my health challenges and pursue my passions, all in a fun and easy way! I've learned so much about marketing, business operations, nutrition, and how to counsel someone in health matters. It was a well-rounded education.
Is there a need for Health Coaches where you live?
Yes. I live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. where everyone lives at hyper-speed and no one stops to give you the time of day. But there are more and more Health Coaches in the area and it feels good to get together with them in the midst of all this chaos. More people in my area are learning what a health coach is and they are seeking us out. People here want to lose weight, prevent cancer and beat health challenges, so they seek us out.
What do you love about your work?
I love talking to people and teaching them how to make healthy food taste really yummy! My favorite thing to do is make green smoothies with kids.
Tell us about your practice.
I work over the phone with people who want to reduce the symptoms of Lyme disease and autoimmune conditions. These diseases are affected dramatically by the food you eat and stress levels, so I work on those two areas with my clients. I have been doing occasional food demos and nutrition workshops in my area, but my biggest project is The Take Back Your Health Conference, which is taking place October 22-23rd. One of my fellow IIN graduates, Ryan McGrath, is working with me to put together this conference. We've been so busy!